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There is a point, in the distance, that your character very badly wants to reach. What is it?
What is the point from which they’ve started out, what are they willing to do to get to that point in the distance? What will they sacrifice?
The bridge is the point between those two places. The bridge is where what they must do to get there, what they’re willing to sacrifice, and the consequences of those decisions coexist.
Write their story, on the bridge.
Are we ready? Today is Day 1 of StoryADay 2021!
Today’s prompt is from Fran Wilde. Fran is a wonderful short story writer among other things, and she writes weird little stories, but weird little stories that win awards…so let’s pay attention to what she’s asked us to do.
Fran has asked us to write a story where your character is on a bridge.
It’s a wonderful metaphor for where characters are in short stories. A short story can be just that moment on the bridge where they can see what they want and they know where they’ve been.
But they have to do something.
They have to do something they probably don’t want to do to get to the next step, to get where they want to go.
Your character wants something and it’s over there. Something is stopping them from getting there. If they’re the three Billy goats gruff, it’s a troll. If it’s a fantasy story, maybe there are rogues on the bridge. If it’s an adventure novel, maybe the bridge is rickety. If it’s a family drama, maybe their spouse is trying to tell them not to go any further….
So many possibilities, but all of them will keep you focused on the fact that, in a short story, a character has a choice to make and they have an action to take. And all the story needs to be is about that.
You don’t need to do much setup.
You don’t need to really tie it up with a bow.
You just need to tell us what happens and why it matters.
So good luck with Day One!
This is a fairly meaty prompt, but on Day One you’ve got lots of energy. You’ve planned for this. You haven’t used up all of your good ideas yet. (That actually is never going to happen)
Go out there and get your teeth into this prompt.
I’ll see you back here tomorrow, but before that, stop by and let me know what you wrote, how it went and just leave a quick comment for us when you’re done today.
Good for you for showing up. I’m very proud of you.
Two-time Nebula winner Fran Wilde writes science fiction and fantasy for adults and kids, with seven books, so far, that embrace worlds unique (Updraft, The Gemworld) and portal (Riverland, The Ship of Stolen Words), plus numerous short stories appearing in Asimov’s, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, Uncanny, and multiple Year’s Best anthologies.
Her work has won the Eugie Foster and Compton Crook awards, been named an NPR Favorite, and has been a finalist for six Nebulas, three Hugos, a World Fantasy Award, three Locii, and the Lodestar. Fran directs the Genre Fiction MFA concentration at Western Colorado University and writes nonfiction for NPR, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
Check out her latest work at https://www.franwilde.net/
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